“Book Review: Black from the Future”
Reviewed by Robyn-Lee Samuels
With runaway vampire slaves and Afrofuturism, this collection of black speculative writing encourages further diversity in the sci-fi and fantasy genres.
Black from the Future is an anthology of short fiction and poetry by all black women writers. The stories and poems vary in the fantastical, ranging from light magic realism to futuristic worlds with cross-species breeding.
These writers skillfully add color to white archetypes, like vampires as 19th century slaves instead of Eastern European counts. You can expect to find a striking originality in the stories’ concepts like “chosen ones” conjuring zombies and humans breeding with flowers. No matter if it takes place in the USA, a fantastical world, or an odd new surprise, these pieces are always descriptive, immersing the reader into worlds that feel familiar.
This book is not for sensitive readers. With wit and sophistication, this collection tackles difficult themes and explores cultural issues like racism, suicide, slavery, and more. While each piece is unique, you’re likely to find characters struggling with identity and navigating interpersonal relationships in each one. Focuses on love, acceptance, belonging, and sexuality often guide us toward unanswered questions, leaving the reader to muse instead over the themes discussed.
Writer (and co-editor of the collection) Lauren Cherelle achieves this successfully in “Go Green.” In a post-religious utopia, the pro-life/pro-choice debate reaches new extremes as it explores how society would value choice or life if science proved the existence of life after death—and in turn, how they would react to mass voluntary suicide. The responsibilities of the utopian life juxtapose with the grief-stricken friends and relatives left behind.
Alma LaVon Rice’s “The Seam Ripper” asks the question, would you change the past if it meant your parents would love you more—and should you? In “The Eye of Heaven,” Nicole Sconiers constructs a world where an explosion at a beauty manufacturer infects all the women of color in the region. Sconiers combines creativity with a discussion on what it means to be a black woman in a world obsessed with youth, beauty, and melanin.
Anthology editors Stephanie Andrea Allen and Lauren Cherelle have expertly curated this collection of sixteen stories and six poems to celebrate a fresh diversity in the science fiction and fantasy genres. In an age where humanity strives to improve the world for the best of future generations, Black from the Future adds a hopeful voice to the conversation.
Publisher: Black Feminist Press
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